Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sermon: Memorial Service of Kevin Rome

24 January 2009 at Mothe Funeral Home, Harvey, LA

Text: Matt 11:28-30, (Isa 25:6-9, 2 Cor 4:7-18)

In the + name of Jesus. Amen.

Dear family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and guests.

Peace be with you. May you be comforted by Him who says: “I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Of course, in times like these, the yoke feels anything but easy, and the burden sure doesn’t seem to be light, but we cling to the promise of our Lord and trust in Him.

For Jesus is far more than a gentle teacher, a noble spiritual master, or an all-around good-guy. The empty tomb in Jerusalem and the billions of people around the world who, for two thousand years, even in duress and martyrdom confess Jesus as God in the flesh, point to a very different Jesus: one who has power, even over death and the grave.

Jesus said: “I did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.” For we do live in a world that needs saving.

We live in a fallen world, where things are not the way they should be. Men should not be cut down in the prime of life. We are surrounded by crime, sadness, broken families, sickness, natural disasters, and every manner of pain and suffering. This is not the world as God created it. This is not what the Creator placed man into. But our own sinfulness and rebellion has brought on all these things – even the very death that we will all endure because of our own fallenness.

Rather than condemn us sinners and destroy the fallen world, our Lord is also our Savior, that is, our Rescuer and re-Creator. As the prophet has told us:

“He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.”

But in the meanwhile, as St. Paul has told us anew:

“We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”

For this, dear brothers and sisters, is what the Christian faith is. It is not a collection of fables, nor even a quaint way to learn morals. It is not part of a cafeteria of beliefs that you can pick and choose from, or just another hobby that you can do on Sundays. The Christian faith is the only comfort we have in death – because it is true in every sense of the word. Your Lord uses all manner of events in life – be it prosperity or sadness – to call you back to Himself.

The baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit applied to Kevin is indeed a source of comfort today. Your baptism should bring comfort to you – and the seed planted at your baptism cries out for you to nourish it with the Word of God and prayer, with Holy Communion, and being attached to the “one holy Christian and apostolic Church” – where Jesus is found, where sins are forgiven, where comfort is given, where death and the grave are forever conquered. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting” says St. Paul.

In spite of our continued life in this fallen world, this valley of tears, this place of brokenness, of crime, of suffering, of family problems, of hurricanes, of economic woes, of drug addictions, of disappointments, of broken hearts, of widows and orphans, of terminal illness, and even of death itself – we have a Savior. Cling to Him, to the only One who defeated every form of temptation, the One who crushed the head of the devil, the One whose death destroyed death and whose resurrection to eternal life is a pledge to those who hold fast to Him.

For this is how the apostle can say:

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."


In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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